My group discussed in length what our theme should be. In the end we decided on “the differences of people's morality and its influences”. Though my idea is very similar, it differs slightly (mostly in how it’s worded). I think the theme is the subjective facets of morality and how it influences our society, values, and decisions. Throughout the novel, we see many different characters and a wide array of different situations, all surrounded by the idea of morality- what should be considered “right” and what “wrong”. For example, in the book we see El Patron and Mr. MacGregor discussing “fetal brain implants” giving the impression that they bred clone infants for the sole purpose of using them as organ donors. To most people, just the suggestion of this is disgusting- sickening even- but to characters like El Patron and Mr. MacGregor, this is just a necessary measurement to keep themselves alive. Characters like Maria and Celia have a much different moral agenda than characters like Mr. MacGregor and El Patron. Maria does not fully comprehend all of the events taking place around her (i.e. the eejits, the drug empire) but see’s good in everyone. Celia on the other hand is fully aware of all of the heinous actions taking place around her and is whole-heartedly against it, taking action to stand up for what she believes is righteous. These attributes makes them much more likable than most characters in the novel because we can identify with their views and opinions.
“Was it wrong to blow 20 men to smithereens? El Patron wouldn’t have worried one second over it. Tam Lin had tried to blow up the English Prime Minister but had killed 20 children instead. “Murder is wrong brother wolf, said a voice in Matt’s head. He sighed.” (Farmer, page 312)
This quote is an example of my chosen theme from the book. It specifically exemplifies how the differences of morality impact our decisions- El Patron not thinking twice about killing 20 men while Matt understanding that murder is (to Matt) immoral and wrong. Some actions are stereotypically known as immoral (i.e. stealing, murder, slavery, ext.). I think that it’s very compelling that The House of the Scorpion explores a society where these “crimes” are not only done openly, but are socially accepted. The eejits forced into slavery are socially acceptable in Opium as the people running Opium see them as collateral damaged - as a necessary action- and are dismissive and contemptuous to those they forced to work for them. The deaths of these eejits are in fact murders, and Matt begins to understand that those beautiful white poppy fields are tainted red with the blood of thousands of dead slaves. Once Esparenza asks Matt to take over Opium, to become El Patron and dismantle the empire he has built, Matt comes to this realization:
“He [Matt] understood the full extent of it now. It wasn’t only the drug addicts throughout the world or the Illegals doomed to slavery. It was their orphaned children as well. You could even say the old man [El Patron] was responsible for the Keepers. If Matt had become El Patron then he’d gotten the whole package… and the evil that created it.”
Our idea of what is “right” and what is “wrong” is subjective based on our worldview and experiences, and that is what my chosen theme articulates.